Lowering my backpack weight

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Grifter
Posts: 2101
Joined: 30 Jun 2002, 07:02

Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Grifter »

Hi,

So, as many of you know, one of my real passions in life is backpacking. This is something I actually get to do rather than just "simulate." I get the chance to practice real skills and challenge myself physically every time I step on the trail. I also find myself mentally and spiritually in a much better place after a few days in the backcountry.

Our most recent backpacking trip in the Sierras was great, but my pack was unreasonably heavy and my knees are still aching. As I'm growing older, my body isn't recovering from the pounding like it used to, and I'm chagrined I didn't start trekking earlier in life. So, I've decided to go ultralight. Ultralight is not just buying expensive, lightweight gear. It's a philosophy that requires highly refined skills to put into practice on the trail. That said, I thought I would share my gear list as a representation of the changes I've made over the last several months. Bear in mind that my total pack weight on the Sierra trip was ranged from forty pounds to approximately thirty-six pounds by trail's end.

The lists below will show that I've made some progress to lighten my load, but there is still room for improvement. I hope to get my base pack weight and total pack weight even lower than what these lists currently indicate.

2 person, three season, weekend backpacking list for when I'm with my wife. I typically take a few extra luxuries on this sort of trip.

Solo, three season, weekend backpacking list. I tend to bring less luxuries on these trips.
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Trichome
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Joined: 05 Jul 2021, 15:14
Location: Ontario, Can
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Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Trichome »

Is water on top of the 6lbs of food? I didn't see it listed.

Pretty cool hobby and nowadays a great way to detach from the craziness going on for a few days.
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Grifter
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002, 07:02

Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Grifter »

No, food and water combine for six pounds. Two liters of water weighs four pounds! Two pounds of food. This is the minimum for a simple overnight backpack.
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Trichome
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Location: Ontario, Can
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Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Trichome »

doesn't sound like much food and water but I guess when you're carrying everything in and out weight matters and smart choices (and expensive ones) really make a difference.
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Grifter
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Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Grifter »

The average backpacker can feel full and nourished on 2 to 2.5 lbs of food per day. Think calorically dense foods with a premium on sustainable energy, ie. fats and proteins, then carbs, and then sugars, in that order. Dried meats, hard cheeses, nuts, dried fruit, electrolyte tabs, trail bars, complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, salty soups like miso, olive oil, rices and pasta, butter, peanut butter, almond butter, tuna, canned chicken, and so forth. Schedule eating fresh veggies and fruits on day one and two if you're carrying any. I typically don't but would do so on longer hikes. Trail bars get old after a while.

Depending on climate, I can walk about eight to ten miles a day on two liters of water. Don't forget that a water filter allows me to refill if necessary; however, doing so requires planning ahead and knowing where water sources are located. Typically, I don't need to refill before camp unless it's particularly hot or humid.
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Jedi Master
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Location: Melbourne, FL

Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Jedi Master »

Now...hear me out...helium-filled backpack balloons?
The Jedi Master
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Grifter
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Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Grifter »

Don't laugh. There's actually an backcountry legend about a guy who put balloons in his backpack. Why? I have no idea.
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Jedi Master
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Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Jedi Master »

Nah, inside the backpack will limit the volume available and lessen both what you can carry and how much it helps.

Balloon attached to cable attached to backpack top to make weight on your back about 5 pounds. Less and you risk moving too much, more and it's not helping enough.

Like a weather balloon.

Warning--not recommended in high winds or when hiking through dense forest canopy, caves, or near power lines.
The Jedi Master
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Grifter
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002, 07:02

Re: Lowering my backpack weight

Post by Grifter »

Warning--not recommended in high winds or when hiking through dense forest canopy, caves, or near power lines.
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